EPA Article Highlights How Protecting Drinking Water Is a Matter of Security and Health

EPA Article Highlights How Protecting Drinking Water Is a Matter of Security and Health

Economic and environmental issues are intrinsically linked in topic of water protection, with many communities already being critically affected.

Whether it’s taking a shower, brushing one’s teeth, cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning the dishes, growing crops, or replenishing the body with needed sustenance, our dependence on the valuable resource of water is too often overlooked. What’s more, the ready and cheap access to it that many people in the U.S. still enjoy should not be taken for granted. Imagine that easy access being cut off for several days, if not longer. It sounds like something out of a movie or a desolate, barren location on our planet, but a number of U.S. cities have been forced to deal with this scenario in recent times.

While most Americans enjoy this same luxury every day, this past year two major drinking water systems were shut down when harmful toxins contaminated their drinking water systems. These incidents in Toledo, OH, and Charleston, WV, resulted in over 800,000 residents having to find an alternative supply of safe drinking water for as long as five days. And, in both cases, this led to National Guard deployment to provide emergency drinking water to long lines of residents.

While many locations contend with water scarcity due to drought conditions, other debilitating factors come in the form of pollution as well as cost of water treatment and management. As communities discard waste in unsustainable ways (like dumping it into landfills; using in-sink garbage disposals that end up trapping some organic waste in pipes, leading to accumulation of toxins in our water supply; or tossing agricultural manure and runoff on land that leads to pollution), our water resources are adversely impacted. Without addressing these problems, the expenses of cleaning up the consequences become more significant, with everyone ultimately being affected. This results in both economic and health costs that could be greatly reduced, if not entirely avoided—whether those are high water treatment and usage costs, scarcity of clean water, or heavily-treated water dispensed to consumers that introduces detrimental chemicals into our diet and everyday use.

While today’s drinking water treatment systems can remove most contaminants, in some cases, they’ve been overwhelmed by contaminants introduced upstream from the customers they serve.  In these instances, many lower income residents bear the greatest burden of losing access to safe drinking water. Without effective source water protection programs, the cost of providing safe drinking water is placed solely on the downstream drinking water plants and their customers, many of whom can’t afford to shoulder this extra treatment cost, let alone the economic losses of closing businesses and schools during a drinking water emergency.

In an effort to curb water pollution and misuse, Team Gemini is actively engaged with its team members to implement water treatment solutions for communities. Whether those include MBR Treatment plants, UF/RO systems, and more, there are a variety of options to maximize water conservation while extracting additional economic and health benefits from it.

Team Gemini’s efforts help solve existing Waste Water discharges into the environment, with a large focus on many Animal Farming, Food Production, and Food Processing Industries. This is not only beneficial in light of new EPA restrictions addressing these practices, but it also results in beneficial water savings of up to 80% for those operators. This is done by separation of Waste Water and recycling Waste Water, converting it into distilled and clean water supplies back to the production and processing for cleaning purposes and steam production, boiler water supply, for which city drinking water is normally used. Another outcome is the elimination of Waste Water Lagoons (which feature large quantities of CO2 exposure into the atmosphere) and implementing a direct Waste Water Treatment flow to industry facilities in a closed-loop system.

To learn more about Team Gemini’s diverse technology solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/technologies/.

For the original article on the EPA blog, you can check out http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2015/03/protecting-our-drinking-water-for-everyone/.